The lush, mountainous Kingdom of Swaziland, which borders Mozambique in southeastern Africa, is now officially known as Eswatini and is the last absolute monarchy in Africa. This small but scenic country is a paradise for tourists with emerald mountains, rivers, canyons, rolling valleys, and waterfalls. The main attraction here is the nature reserve.
The best mode of traveling around here would be via your car. Be your guide and take yourself and your people to numerous places. But before hopping into the driver’s seat, there are some things you should know.
What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driving License (IDL)?
An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by 141 countries worldwide and is valid for one year.
In comparison, an International Driving License is not a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.
How does an IDP work in Eswatini?
An International Driving Permit (IDP) regulated by the United Nations certifies that you have a valid driver’s license in your country of origin. If you are driving with a US driver’s license, you may think you do not need an international driver’s license in Eswatini. English is one of the country’s official languages, but even American drivers need to get an international driver’s license in Eswatini. Authorities request this document at checkpoints and borders, and if you do not present an International driving permit or any other legal documents, you will be punished.
Why do people carry an International Driving Permit?
Your International driving permit can be used to identify your address in 150 different countries worldwide and carries your name, photo, and driver’s information. You can enter identification numbers and passwords; the system also speaks a specific language. Most countries strongly recommend the use of an international driver’s license. The other countries do not have International driving permits that can be combined with American driver’s licenses. An International driving permit with the United States driving license is only available here. Some countries require an IDP to travel legally. Having no International driving permit is a very costly violation. Please consult the country’s requirements before traveling.
Reasons to obtain International Driving Permits
Driving can make an excellent trip when one prepares to take a risk and legally takes the journey. Despite being a non-US citizen, the lack of a valid driver’s license might be devastating.
This is why obtaining one can be very useful; these reasons include: Avoid receiving huge fines or hefty penalties. Driving without permission in an overseas country may result in legal problems, and the owner’s vehicle may be confiscated. Those caught who cannot show their current license or permit may face hefty fines, detention, or deportation. Moreover, most rental car companies may require you to have an IDP, or else you will be refused to be able to rent a car.
United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic
Organizations authorized by the UN issue international driving licenses and comply with the UN’s road traffic conventions. There were three international conventions on motor vehicle traffic in 1926 (Paris), 1949 (Geneva), and 1968 (Vienna). Many countries have committed to treating the IDP as a valid document in all conventions. Specific automotive associations and organizations have been authorized to issue IDPs on behalf of the country’s government.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Eswatini
Two of the most essential driving documents to carry on public roads in Eswatini are your local driver’s license and your International driving permit. With an International Driving Permit for Eswatini, areas that are not accessible by public transport are easily accessible by self-driving cars. This is a direct translation of your local driver’s license into twelve widely spoken languages, usually best understood by local dealers.
Renewing Your International driver’s permit or Original Driver’s License While in Eswatini
You need your current driver’s license details and passport-sized photographs to renew your IDP. Renewal can be done online through our website.
If your original license expires while you are abroad, you will need to renew it to continue driving in that country. License renewal procedures vary considerably from country to country. License renewals may include a vision test that cannot be completed online, which means you must return to your home country to renew your license. However, most governments also offer an online license renewal service for foreigners.
Car Rental in Eswatini
To rent a car, you need the following:
- A valid license (you must have owned it for at least one year)
- An IDP
- A Valid identification document (ID card or passport)
- A Credit card (valid for at least three months after you return the car)
You must be 18 years or older to rent a car and have had a valid driver’s license for one year. If you are under 25 years old, a young driver surcharge will apply, and this will automatically be added to your quote when booked online or received in person. On average, a rental car in Eswatini costs US$406 per week ($58 per day). The cheapest you can at least get is an $18/day deal.
Important road rules
Some minor roads in Eswatini are poorly maintained, but your driving experiences are not only affected by road conditions. Eswatini outlines the rules for the use of vehicles in foreign countries. Swaziland has its own set of driving laws that every driver must follow while driving on public roads, as traffic violations can cause you hefty fines or you’ll be taken to the police station. While driving in big cities can be a nightmare, being active in the countryside is quite helpful. The rainy seasons in the country also make driving difficult, even dangerous. A few things to keep in mind are:
- Always carry your native driver’s license and IDP
- All passengers in moving cars must wear seat belts
- Driving under the influence of alcohol is prohibited
- The speed limit is 80 km/h on open roads, 60 km/h on city roads, and 120 km/h on highways
- Using cell phones while driving is illegal
- Eswatini traffic is on the left
The Top 6 Places to Visit in Eswatini
The n Swaziland today is Eswatini, a landlocked nation in southern Africa between Mozambique and South Africa. Travelers across lands often overlook such hidden beauty because they have varying sizes and geographical locations. Do not make this mistake; you will miss an exhilarating African experience. Eswatini offers an impressive natural setting, stunning landscapes, and a stunning nature reserve.
Mlawula Nature Reserve
This beautiful nature reserve offers transitioning experiences from Lowveld through the Lebombo Mountains range. You will pass through countless scenery, from deserted sand to green hills and riverine forests. During the Mlawla region, 60 animals are exhibited, including Kudu impala, wildebeest, and tortoise. There are 350 species of birds in this area and many plant types. You may walk on these hiking trails as you will never encounter roaming lionesses and elephants.
The nearby Mbabane city in Eswatini is an excellent town for tourists too. Swazi markets are popular among tourists who love to buy souvenirs. You’ll discover local art through handcrafted items like pottery sculptures, beaded jewelry baskets, and traditional textiles. Explore the northern side of Pine Valley, passing along the scenic route in the Umbeluzi River with breathtaking waterfalls.
Hlane Royal National Park
It is primarily a wilderness area in Hlane National Park and houses rhino, elephant, and lion species. You may explore a particular place and observe birds and mammals of different species. There are other activities you can enjoy, including mountain walking, and you’ll also find cultural Swazi villages nearby. All accommodation is accessible in the region for tourists wanting to stay over the night.
Lobamba, a key capital city of Eswatini, is in the Ezulwini Valley. This was also the capital as Eswatini was the monarchic seat. Visit Lobamba Royal Village exterior with Royal Kraal. You can visit parliament buildings and learn about the nation’s culture through the National Museum. You may view Somhloli Stadium, where major cultural events and performances are organized.
Mbuluzi Game Reserve
Traveling around these reserves has to be cautious as Mlawula River is full of crocodiles. You can rent tents overnight, travel on wildlife safaris, and encounter wildlife like elephants, giraffes, wildebeests, and kudus as a guest. In winter, the skies are quiet. Birds are magnificent here, as 300 species are protected, including stunning Narina trogons.
How much does an International Driving Permit cost for Eswatini?
You can find our prices on our pricing page.
Is an IDP valid in Eswatini?
Yes. It is highly recommended to carry one as you may not be able to rent a car without it.
How old do I have to be to drive in Eswatini?
You must be at least 18 years old to drive in Eswatini. When renting a car, the minimum age is 23, and you must have at least one year of driving experience. If you are under the age of 25, youth insurance will be charged.
What side of the road do I drive in Eswatini?
Eswatini traffic is on the left, as is the UK and other southern Africa.
Is Eswatini safe to travel?
Road accidents are one of the greatest dangers in Swaziland. Beware of other road users who have a known history of reckless behavior.
How long can I stay in Eswatini without a visa?
No visa is required for stays up to 30 days at this destination. You don’t need access, but don’t forget the following: Have a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of departure and contains a blank visa page.